Spaceflight historian Amy Shira Teitel tells the riveting story of the female pilots who each dreamed of being the first American woman in space. When the space age dawned in the late 1950s, Jackie Cochran held more propeller and jet flying records than any pilot of the twentieth century—man or woman. She had led the Women's Auxiliary Service Pilots during the Second World War, was the first woman to break the sound barrier, ran her own luxury cosmetics company, and counted multiple presidents among her personal friends. She was more qualified than any woman in the world to make the leap from atmosphere to orbit. Yet it was Jerrie Cobb, twenty-five years Jackie's junior and a record-holding pilot in her own right, who finagled her way into taking the same medical tests as the Mercury astronauts. The prospect of flying in space quickly became her obsession. While the American and international media spun the shocking story of a "woman astronaut" program, Jackie and Jerrie struggled to gain control of the narrative, each hoping to turn the rumored program into their own ideal reality—an issue that ultimately went all the way to Congress. This dual biography of audacious trailblazers Jackie Cochran and Jerrie Cobb presents these fascinating and fearless women in all their glory and grit, using their stories as guides through the shifting social, political, and technical landscape of the time.
Revives the overlooked stories of pioneering women aviators, who are also featured in the forthcoming documentary film Coming Home: Fight for a Legacy During World War II, all branches of the military had women's auxiliaries. Only the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program, however, was made up entirely of women who undertook dangerous missions more commonly associated with and desired by men. Within military hierarchies, the World War II pilot was perceived as the most dashing and desirable of servicemen. "Flyboys" were the daring elite of the United States military. More than the WACs (Army), WAVES (Navy), SPARS (Coast Guard), or Women Marines, the WASPs directly challenged these assumptions of male supremacy in wartime culture. WASPs flew the fastest fighter planes and heaviest bombers; they test-piloted experimental models and worked in the development of weapons systems. Yet the WASPs were the only women's auxiliary within the armed services of World War II that was not militarized. In Clipped Wings, Molly Merryman draws upon military documents—many of which weren’t declassified until the 1990s—congressional records, and interviews with the women who served as WASPs during World War II to trace the history of the over one thousand pilots who served their country as the first women to fly military planes. She examines the social pressures that culminated in their disbandment in 1944—even though a wartime need for their services still existed—and documents their struggles and eventual success, in 1977, to gain military status and receive veterans’ benefits. In the preface to this reissued edition, Merryman reflects on the changes in women’s aviation in the past twenty years, as NASA’s new Artemis program promises to land the first female astronaut on the moon and African American and lesbian women are among the newest pilot recruits. Updating the story of the WASPs, Merryman reveals that even in the past few years there have been more battles for them to fight and more national recognition for them to receive. At its heart, the story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots is not about war or planes; it is a story about persistence and extraordinary achievement. These accomplished women pilots did more than break the barriers of flight; they established a model for equality.
Help your child hit new heights in test-taking with Spectrum Test Practice for grade 3. Aligned to current state standards, this workbook gets kids ready using practice tests, online exercises, tips, examples, and answer sheets genuine to the real math and language arts assessments. By providing an authentic test experience, you’re helping your child build the skills and confidence to exceed assessment expectations. Spectrum Test Practice provides everything kids need to take on testing—including online practice pages, customized by state and grade-level.
For readers of The Astronaut Wives Club, The Mercury 13 reveals the little-known true story of the remarkable women who trained for NASA space flight. In 1961, just as NASA launched its first man into space, a group of women underwent secret testing in the hopes of becoming America’s first female astronauts. They passed the same battery of tests at the legendary Lovelace Foundation as did the Mercury 7 astronauts, but they were summarily dismissed by the boys’ club at NASA and on Capitol Hill. The USSR sent its first woman into space in 1963; the United States did not follow suit for another twenty years. For the first time, Martha Ackmann tells the story of the dramatic events surrounding these thirteen remarkable women, all crackerjack pilots and patriots who sometimes sacrificed jobs and marriages for a chance to participate in America’s space race against the Soviet Union. In addition to talking extensively to these women, Ackmann interviewed Chuck Yeager, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, and others at NASA and in the White House with firsthand knowledge of the program, and includes here never-before-seen photographs of the Mercury 13 passing their Lovelace tests. Despite the crushing disappointment of watching their dreams being derailed, the Mercury 13 went on to extraordinary achievement in their lives: Jerrie Cobb, who began flying when she was so small she had to sit on pillows to see out of the cockpit, dedicated her life to flying solo missions to the Amazon rain forest; Wally Funk, who talked her way into the Lovelace trials, went on to become one of the first female FAA investigators; Janey Hart, mother of eight and, at age forty, the oldest astronaut candidate, had the political savvy to steer the women through congressional hearings and later helped found the National Organization for Women. A provocative tribute to these extraordinary women, The Mercury 13 is an unforgettable story of determination, resilience, and inextinguishable hope.
“With the fate of the free world hanging in the balance, women pilots went aloft to serve their nation. . . . A soaring tale in which, at long last, these daring World War II pilots gain the credit they deserve.”—Liza Mundy, New York Times bestselling author of Code Girls “A powerful story of reinvention, community and ingenuity born out of global upheaval.”—Newsday When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Cornelia Fort was already in the air. At twenty-two, Fort had escaped Nashville’s debutante scene for a fresh start as a flight instructor in Hawaii. She and her student were in the middle of their lesson when the bombs began to fall, and they barely made it back to ground that morning. Still, when the U.S. Army Air Forces put out a call for women pilots to aid the war effort, Fort was one of the first to respond. She became one of just over 1,100 women from across the nation to make it through the Army’s rigorous selection process and earn her silver wings. The brainchild of trailblazing pilots Nancy Love and Jacqueline Cochran, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) gave women like Fort a chance to serve their country—and to prove that women aviators were just as skilled as men. While not authorized to serve in combat, the WASP helped train male pilots for service abroad, and ferried bombers and pursuits across the country. Thirty-eight WASP would not survive the war. But even taking into account these tragic losses, Love and Cochran’s social experiment seemed to be a resounding success—until, with the tides of war turning, Congress clipped the women’s wings. The program was disbanded, the women sent home. But the bonds they’d forged never failed, and over the next few decades they came together to fight for recognition as the military veterans they were—and for their place in history.
Today, air power is a vital component of the U.S. armed forces. James Libbey, in Alexander P. de Seversky and the Quest for Air Power, highlights the contributions of an aviation pioneer who made much of it possible. Graduating from the Imperial Russian Naval Academy at the start of World War I, de Seversky lost a leg in his first combat mission. He still shot down thirteen German planes and became the empire's most decorated combat naval pilot. While serving as a naval attache in the United States in 1918, de Seversky elected to escape the Bolshevik Revolution and offered his services as a pilot and consulting engineer to the U.S. War Department. He proved inventive both in the technology of advanced military aircraft and in the strategy of exercising air power. He worked for famed aviation advocate Gen. William "Billy" Mitchell, who encouraged the naturalized citizen to patent his inventions, such as an in-flight refueling system and a gyroscopically synchronized bombsight. His creative spirit then spurred him to design and manufacture advanced military aircraft. When World War II broke out in Europe, de Seversky became America's best-known philosopher, prophet, and advocate for air power, even serving as an adviser to the chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force. The highlight of his life occurred in 1970 when the Aviation Hall of Fame enshrined de Seversky for "his achievements as a pilot, aeronautical engineer, inventor, industrialist, author, strategist, consultant, and scientific advances in aircraft design and aerospace technology." This book will appeal to readers with a special interest in military history and to anyone who wants to learn more about American air power's most important figures.